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IN SHORT: More fun than number one. [Rated PG-13 for street racing, violence, language and some sensuality.]
Those of you who troll through the Archives already know just how much we luvvved The Fast and the Furious, the Vin Diesel fueled box office wonder of two years back. You can probably hazard a guess as to just how anxious we were to plant for this year's model, the Diesel-free 2 Fast 2 Furious. Your guess is probably correct but if you follow that line of thinking towards a guess at what we thought of 2 Fast 2 Furious, you'd be wrong. But, after screening 2 Fast 2 Furious, we had to pause half an hour for this evening's edition of Monster Garage. . .
Just because we live in New York City doesn't mean we don't appreciate the metal monsters . . . as does this film. Jesse James would be please to see West Coast Choppers T's proudly worn in this film! OK, onwards . . .
A grand improvement upon (and the last time we'll mention) The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious bookends what passes for story with two great car stunt visual effects, guaranteed to make you either giggle or go "ooo".
On the streets of South Miami, the cars are screaming pastel; the teams are as ethno as you can get -- femme, hispanic, black, white and any combination in between. In the late muggy night, kids drop "road closed" signs over out of the way thoroughfares, strip down to their party thongs and get ready for the big race of the night. The flagman is a legendary racer whose fifteen minutes of fame ended years ago. "Tej" (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) now runs his own shop and takes in even more dinero from organizing the races and running the betting pool. This particular evening a car is missing so Tej makes a phone call. Four minutes later Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), desperately in need of cash after being unceremoniously drummed out of the LAPD, peels up the street to take on the hot young guns of the Orange state. "$35 large" bucks to get into the race, winner takes almost all. And off they go. N2O afterburners kicking in, fire bellows out the exhaust, tires scream, clutches squeal in and out of balls to the wall hairpin turns. When all is said and done, our ex-cop is about to have his night ruined by a whole messa Miami's finest, ready to cart the young and the restless away.
US Customs and the FBI have other plans. They want the disgraced O'Connor to go undercover to aid a deep undercover FBI agent Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes). Fuentes has been krazy glued to evil bad guy (by way of having more money than you and I will ever see in our lifetimes) Carter Verone (Cole Hauser) for eleven and a half months. Tongues are wagging that she may have fallen to the wrong side. O'Connor and his hand picked partner Roman Pearce (Tyrese) are the lifelines sent into rescue the lovely and put the final nails in the smuggler's indictments. Only problem is, of course, O'Connor and Pearce suffer from double dose testosterone smoothie diets and fight tooth and nail each time they meet, or meet other people, whatever.
Tricked up cars, heavy duty drag races, confrontations for pink slips, nothing is here that hasn't been done or seen before in other movies. Depending on your generation it is either new to you or it isn't. The big difference with 2 Fast 2 Furious is that it is very funny. It begins and ends with visually spectacular stunts and, in between, there is enough reckless driving to inspire dumb teens everywhere to do likewise. Tell 'em to leave the stunts to the pros.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to 2Fast 2Furious, he would have paid . . .
Dateflick for the teens and Gen X'ers. It is one thing to let testosterone levels determine the seriousness of a film's story. Quite another when that film knows when to lay off and wink at itself.
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